Life - Poem by Marvin Bell
I leave the office, take the stairs,
in time to mail a letter
before 3 in the afternoon--the last dispatch.
The red, white and blue air mail
falls past the slot for foreign mail
and hits bottom with a sound
that tells me my letter is alone.
They will have to bring in a plane
from a place of coastline and beaches,
from a climate of fresh figs and apricot,
to cradle my one letter. Up in the air
it will leave behind some of its ugly nuance,
its unpleasant habit of humanity
which wants to smear itself over others:
the spot in which it wasn't clear, perhaps,
how to take my words, which were suggestive,
the paragraph in which the names of flowers,
ostensibly to indicate travel,
make a bed for lovers,
the parts that contain spit and phlegm,
the words only a wet tongue can manage,
hissing sounds and letters of the alphabet
which can only be formed
by biting down on the bottom lip.
In the next-to-last paragraph, some hair
came off in the comb. Then clothes
were gathered from everywhere in the room
in one sentence, and the sun rose
while a door closed with sincerity.
No doubt such sincerity will be judged,
but first the investigation of the postmark.
Am I where I was expected? Did I have at hand
the right denominations of stamps,
or did I make a childish quilt of ones and sevens?
Ah yes, they will have to cancel me twice.
Once to make my words worthless.
Once more to stop me from writing.
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